The keto diet is one of the most popular — yet difficult to adhere to — diets to garner our collective attention in the past few years. As always with a new diet, there are some foods that are off-limits, and sugary cereal seems to always be one of them.
Enter Kashi, the cereal brand you may know for its wide array of whole-grain, low-sugar cereals and snack bars. With its new Kashi Go Keto cereal, the Kellogg’s-owned brand is launching its first offering for people following a ketogenic diet. The cereal is also targeted at people looking to reduce their sugar and carbohydrate intake.
I dug into the cinnamon vanilla first, as that’s pretty much my ideal breakfast flavor combo. Normally, I eat a lot of cinnamon oatmeal on weekday mornings, so this was a nice change of pace. I poured a bowl of the round O-shaped cereal, which promises a whopping 12 grams of protein per serving, added some oat milk and dug in.
The cereal tastes great. There’s no odd aftertaste that I’ve experienced with other high-protein cereals and snacks. It has a strong crunch, and the texture was just like a traditional grain-based cereal, without the grainy mouthfeel I’ve come to associate with high-protein snack substitutes.
I tried using whole milk with the cinnamon vanilla cereal the next day, as that’s the most keto way to eat high-protein cereal, and it was even tastier. I ate the entire first box in about two days and dove into the dark cocoa flavor next.
It was also very good! It was more chocolatey than sugary-tasting — if you’ve tried any of Kashi’s other dark chocolate offerings, it’s very familiar. Both flavors tasted like what I consider to be “adult” cereals, as opposed to protein-heavy versions of cereals marketed for children.
What I didn’t like is that with the small serving size, it definitely didn’t keep me full until lunch, and nutritionist Kristen Ciccolini, founder of Good Witch Kitchen, says there is a reason for that.
“It’s highly processed,” says Ciccolini. “This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What’s important to me is that people understand what they’re getting.
“Seeing something like lentil and chickpea on there might make you think it’s a whole-foods option, but because it contains the extracted proteins rather than whole lentils and chickpeas, the ingredients read more like a protein powder,” she continues. “Between the ingredients and the low calorie count per serving, if you have this for breakfast and stick to the serving size, I imagine you’re still going to feel starved soon after.”
This was definitely my experience, and likely why I went through the whole box so quickly. What I found worked, after my first try, was eating a double serving of the cereal to stay full, pushing up my calories and protein for the meal. A better move might be to add a piece of fruit for additional nutrition as well.
Ciccolini agrees, saying, “I’d treat this as a snack, a protein supplement or one part of a balanced breakfast rather than a whole breakfast in itself. If you want to make it more physically satisfying and give you longer-lasting energy, you can add fruit and peanut butter, for example, and swap out yogurt or kefir for milk and use it as more of a granola.”
Or, if you’re like me, just have a single serving for dessert while bingeing on yet another Netflix show. This is definitely a great choice as a treat for anyone on the keto diet, or trying to cut carbs, but remember, you can’t live on extracted proteins alone.